The MLB All-Star is pretty much a laughing stock among both casual and serious fans alike. A game, mid-way through the season, with players voted in by the fans deciding who has home field advantage in the World Series. A popularity contest with heavy implications. I have plenty of experiences with bad ideas; I know a bad idea when I see one. The real shame is that many fans have just accepted it, until this year.
As of June 15th, Eight Kansas City Royals and Mike Trout are slated to be starters. You could make an argument for two of them starting (Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez) with possibly two more being backups (Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain). Alex Rios, Omar Infante, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar, and Kendrys Morales have no place anywhere near the stadium, let alone being All-Stars. The last time something like this happened was 1957, the Cincinnati Redlegs had eight starters for the National League team because many local companies incentivized filling out a ballot. The Commissioner ended up stepping in and substituting two Redleg players and then took away fan voting until 1970.
That’s where these two situations differ, it’s not just Royal fans ballot stuffing (MLB “checked” [http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/13093905/why-kansas-city-royals-dominating-mlb-all-star-game-voting]). If you frequent an online forum, such as Reddit, people are voting for the Royals out of frustration and for laughs. Many see this as a way that they can force change in MLB’s handling of the All-Star game, they’re making the game as ridiculous as a popularity contest determining home field advantage. Then you also have the people who just want to see the fallout of the Royals + Trout versus the NL All-Stars.
I sympathize with the first group. I dislike how the All-Star game is handled as much as the next guy and the fact that the game actually means something is even more infuriating. I kind of do support what they’re trying to do, it needs to change. But I can’t fully support it, and this is why.
Athletics 30 year-old Catcher Stephen Vogt finally gets a major league starting job and absolutely kills. But he’s not going to be starting in the All-Star game because of Salvador Perez and this ‘protest’. I really feel for Vogt. At 30, this may be the only shot he has at starting the All-Star game and he’s not going to get it despite hitting out of his mind. Then there’s Jose Iglesias, a guy who is having what is probably going to end up being the best year of his career and he’s not going to receive the honor of starting the All-Star game.
However, these are the people I really feel sorry for, the fans attending the game. How much did they pay to see the Royals + Trout? Too much. When’s the next time the game is going to be in Cincinnati? The locals who attend are being disrespected. If I were them, I would be absolutely fuming.
I know people want change, but is it right to do this to these people who may or may not have a horse in this race? Do they have to suffer for us to get our way? I certainly don’t think so. And neither should you.